Royal wedding fever to hit Islington as �3k street party fee is axed

ROYAL wedding fever is set to sweep Islington after the council agreed to waive a �3,200 fee for street parties.

Residents and community groups wanting to celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 have been boosted by the news that they will not have to fork out thousands to close off their roads.

The announcement came this week as fears mounted that people were being put off by the high cost. Not a single application to close a street on April 29 has yet been received by the council.

Councillor Catherine West, the Labour leader of Islington Council, said: “We’ve decide to waive the charges. Everyone will be able to enjoy their parties without any red tape or bureaucracy. We’re looking forward to a celebration and it’s going to be a great day. Fingers crossed for the weather!”

Town Hall bosses had recently bumped up the cost of closing a road by more than 20 per cent, from �2,625 to �3,200. The council has discretion to waive the fee on a case-by-case basis – but had until now refused to issue a blanket guarantee.

Councils around the country had already pledged to scrap the fee on the special bank holiday, and neighbouring Haringey had announced it would charge just �80.

Speaking before Islington Council’s announcement, Councillor Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition, said: “The Royal Wedding is a great opportunity for a great national celebration when all we seem to hear from the Town Hall these days is doom and gloom.

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“But people will not bother applying – they will see the �3,200 cost and be put off from applying.

Street party organisers who want to have alcohol for sale or live music playing will still have to apply for a licence known as a “temporary event notice”, at a cost of �21. And cash will need to be found for refreshments, decorations and other costs.

Sharon Jobe, chairwoman of the Market Estate Tenants and Residents Association, said: “It would be nice to put on a party but there isn’t any funding for it. Waiving the fee will help, but you still need money for food, drinks and everything else. Even just a couple of hundred pounds would help to start things off.”

When Charles and Diana married in 1981, celebrations were held across the borough. Highlights then included a fancy dress parade in Burgh Street, Islington, and a tea party for around 160 children on the Andover Estate, off Seven Sisters Road, Holloway.

In 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Highbury Fields for 10 minutes during a whistle-stop tour of north London – although Islington Council withdrew �1,000 in funding, which was to be spent on red carpets and hospitality.